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Out-of-area students provide SBCC with culture of diversity

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

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Out-of-area students provide SBCC with culture of diversity

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Imagine watching your once peaceful neighborhood become noisy and overcrowded. You’ve been living in the Santa Barbara area for decades, and you find it frustrating that these people have disrupted your community’s way of life.

You grow resentful of these strangers, and need to find some group, some person to blame for this. You know that City College serves more students from outside the area than most other two-year colleges do. So, you decide, the problem must be that there are too many out-of-the-area students. After all, isn’t a community college supposed to primarily serve the community?

This simplistic, xenophobic way of looking at the overcrowding issue in Santa Barbara has frequently dogged City College elections in past years, most recently rearing its ugly head in the Board of Trustees election forum. A resident who had lived in the area for over 30 years expressed concern during the forum that local residents were not getting the resources they need at City College because too many out-of-the-area students were sucking City College’s resources dry.

Marsha Croninger, who was re-elected to the board this month, replied that out-of-the-area students were “not a priority for the college.” She added that about 55 percent of City College’s students were from outside the area, receiving gasps from the audience.

The fear that locals are not obtaining the resources they need here is misguided. City College is one of the best two-year schools in the nation, and when that reputation leads to substantial enrollment from out-of-the-area students, the Santa Barbara community should be looking for ways to accommodate them, not finding ways to prevent them from coming.

Basic economics tells us that when demand of a commodity outstrips its supply, two of the most effective ways to achieve market balance is to either decrease demand for it or increase the supply. Since there is no tangible evidence that local students as a group are not receiving the resources they need any more than than out-of-the-area students, that’s not the commodity at issue.

City College has a program called the SBCC Promise that provides all local high school graduates, including home-schooled students, with a free education for their first two years of enrollment that covers everything except food and other living expenses. Promise students even have priority registration for their first semester, giving them a major advantage over most other students in securing the classes they need.

International student attendance has already dropped by 200 students since 2016, and when out-of-state and international students pay over seven times as much tuition as in-state students, increasing their enrollment fees to discourage future attendance would be cruel.

The commodity at issue is housing, and how the community as a whole is not providing enough housing to meet the needs of its members, whether they be long-time residents, students who just moved in last year, or college faculty who found a job opening at the college. This issue should be tackled by the community as a whole, and should not be blamed on any one group. The housing system itself is flawed, and we need to focus our attention on changing the system rather than pointing fingers at students.

All but one of The Channels’ editors comes from outside the area, and both our newspaper and the college at large would not be as great as they are without the invaluable perspectives and experiences these out-of the area students provide.

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “Out-of-area students provide SBCC with culture of diversity”

  1. Brandon Bernstein on November 17th, 2018 9:48 am

    From the story: “Marsha Croninger…replied that out-of-the-area students were ‘not a priority for the college.’ She added that about 55 percent of City College’s students were from outside the area.”

    So the *majority* of students at SBCC aren’t a priority for the college? How does SBCC have such a terrible Board and leadership?

  2. Marsha Croninger on November 17th, 2018 2:36 pm

    My statement in the forum was that building dorms for out of District students was not a priority for me. As I am sure the Channels staff are aware, almost all of the college’s existing facilities are in need of significant repair, our faculty and staff are still paid below median for similar colleges and we have a structural operating deficient which the entire college has been working to close. Certainly you are free to disagree with me, but In the future please contact me beforehand to check for accuracy.

  3. Brandon Bernstein on November 18th, 2018 8:34 pm

    Marsha-are you being so nasty to these STUDENTS at the Channels because you still think students aren’t your constituents?
    https://www.newsmakerswithjr.com/single-post/2018/10/07/Housing-is-Crucial-Issue-in-Key-SBCC-Race

    Or is it more along the lines of what Marty Blum shared in her endorsement of Darcel Elliot and that you treat everybody with such rancor? “Board tensions with faculty, staff, and students are at an all-time high, due largely to how they are treated by our board, including by Marsha.”
    https://www.independent.com/news/2018/oct/22/darcel-elliott-sbcc-trustee/

  4. Clara Rose Elliott on November 19th, 2018 3:58 am

    First off, if you are an out of the area student, get involved with Student Senate. Get involved in the campus in ways that teach you about what goes into running the college (through Student Senate you can sit on campus committees where you will learn about so many of the inner workings of the college). Don’t just use the college’s services, get to know the faculty and the staff. Be involved in the college beyond your own education. This is legitimately the only way to make the type of impact on the college community that will provide meaningful change over the long term not just for the college but for you.

    I served on Student Senate. It was a frustrating but wonderful experience. Because SBCC is a two year college the vast majority of students do not invest in the college beyond their tuition. This creates long term problems for future students. Because the community college is seen as a pipeline to bigger and better colleges and/or careers once you have transferred or moved on it is rare that your attention or money returns to the college. Santa Barbara is an expensive community for faculty and staff but their wages, although reasonable in most areas, stagnate when the college cannot find funds to cover salaries as well as programs and services for students. The reason you should care about salaries as much as services is that they directly impact the quality of the services you receive. Overworked staff who are worried about paying their rent cannot focus as much of themselves on providing stellar services especially if staffing is cut or class sizes are increased.

    But, here’s the thing–you’re not wrong that the community of Santa Barbara doesn’t appreciate the diversity and culture that outsiders bring to the area. SBCC and UCSB make Santa Barbara a city worth living in because they bring so much to the area that make it different from the rich enclaves closer to the LA area. But, as I say, the best way to press this point home is to participate in the community full stop. No matter where you are from or why you’re going to SBCC if you want the community to understand how important your presence is–participate in long term community improvement even if you have no intentions of remaining in the area, even if you don’t particularly like the area it is your participation which will change the dynamics and improve the situation so that future students from anywhere can continue to grow and thrive into careers they might not otherwise have access to without SBCC.

  5. Elizabeth Singson on November 19th, 2018 9:12 am

    So, these ‘out of district’, ‘elsewheres’… How do they find out about SBCC? Are we not recruiting them anymore? I say anymore because, in the past, I had gone to a couple of movies in Ventura and saw ads for SBCC down there. I kind of wondered why they were trying to recruit students from an area that has 2 colleges (Ventura and Oxnard) already.

    I then have to wonder if we are doing similar things in other parts of the state and/or states to ‘recruit’ students from there as well (all in the name of diversity I am sure). I can understand why we might want students from foreign countries coming here. THAT’S diverse, not to mention the much higher fees that the pay that the college gets to keep. I personally would think that if we doubled or even tripled the amount of foreign students (which would still be a very small percentage), the college could make a tidy sum and give our local students a chance to interact with people from around the world on a more frequent basis. Too bad. The college could use the money.

  6. James on November 20th, 2018 2:30 pm

    Hear hear! this is exactly the editorial we needed to write! and @Marsha Croninger editorial staff don’t need to check with you beforehand to check for accuracy, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU SAID.

  7. Jaye on November 23rd, 2018 12:04 pm

    Housing for out of district students will never be a priority for SBCC, the state community college system, local developers, or the surrounding community.

According to the Student Press Law center, several professional news outlets have recently revamped or removed their online comment sections in an attempt to create more civilized discourse. The Channels encourages readers to use our comment section. We view it as a forum for our students and local community to discuss the news that we publish. In an open forum like this, readers are free to express themselves with certain guidelines. The Channels will refrain from approving the publication of comments that are: promoting private materials, containing personal contact information, personal attacks towards our staff, threatening or disparaging, libelous, an invasion of privacy towards the writer or source, obscene or hateful, or content that does not adhere to The Channels or community standards.

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